Elephant - African Animals
The African elephant is the largest land mammal on Earth. There are two species
of African Elephant: African savanna, (Loxodonta africana); African forest (Africana
Description and Characteristics:
The African Elephant has a marked dip between its fore and hindquarters giving
a concave curvature to its back. It's ears are large and fan-like and are
also used to control body temperature; blood circulating through the large
vessels in the ears is cooled by flapping. They have acute hearing.
Large tusks are present in both sexes, they first appear at the age of about
two and continue to grow throughout their lives. Elephants use tusks for peeling
bark off trees, digging for roots, herding young, drilling for
water and sometimes as a weapon. Skin is up to 2.5 cm thick in places
The trunk is probably the most facsinating feature of the elephant - it has
two prehensile protrusions at the tip (the Asian elephant has only one). It
is used for eating, drinking, dust and water bathing, as well as an important
form of communication. The truck also shows the mood of an elephant - it uses
it's truck to end off other elephants and intruders and also uses it as a
punching or thrusting weapon. An elephant has a strong sense of smell and
can locate water by smelling the earth above.
An elephant has very small eyes in relation to its head and has poor eyesight.
Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight social units. A family
is led by an older matriarch and typically includes three or four of her offspring
and their young. Males tend to leave the family unit between the ages of 12
and 15 and may lead solitary adult lives.
Elephants spend about 16 hours a day eating, their daily intake is between
4 and 7% of bodyweight. Elephants drink up to 160 liters of water per day.
Their diet is varied and includes grass, leaves, twigs, bark and fruit.
Elephants are found, south of the Sahara, in 37 different countries in Africa,
but are most popular in Southern and Eastern Africa. Food and water needs
to be plentiful
Size & Lifespan
The male elephant is much larger than the female - Males elephants grow up
to 3.5m and Females up to 2.7m. Males can weight up 6 tons whilst females
up to 2.7 tons. The life expectancy of an elephant is up to 60 years
Elephants do not have any specific mating season. The gestation period for
elephant is 20-22 months. Calves weigh about 120kg at birth and they are born
throughout the year. They are weaned at 3-8 years, generally just before the
birth of the next calf. A cow can give birth every 3-4 years
Predators and Threats:
Elephants have no natural enemies for they not a predator themselves and there
is none large enough to challenge him. However, their future is threatened
by increasing human populations which causes the loss of their natural habitat
- plus the continuing ivory trade.
Elephant, African Animals Reservation Form